New research, published last week in the journal Cancer, has found a significant link between statins and survival rates of patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), according to Science Daily.
Researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center found that statins, which are widely used for hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol), can improve the survival rate of TNBC patients.
Statins could improve the prognosis of TNBC since they are low in cost, easy to access, and produce minimal side effects.
This study extends the previous association between statin use and TNBC, making it the first study to adequately investigate the association between statins and aggressive breast cancer subtypes.
The researchers found that there was a 58% relative improvement in breast cancer-specific survival after using statins. They also found that statin use improved overall survival in TNBC patients by 30%.
Lead author Dr. Kevin Nead said, “There is already a body of literature on statins and breast cancer and the results have been inconsistent.”
“Previous research has looked at breast cancer as only one disease, but we know there are many subtypes of breast cancer and we wanted to focus our research on this particularly aggressive form of breast cancer that has limited effective treatment options,” he added.
TNBC, which makes up to 10% to 20% of breast cancer diagnoses, is an aggressive disease.
Citing the study findings, the researchers explained that the association between incidental statin use and improved outcomes might be stronger in women with early-stage TNBC.
Furthermore, they found a statistically significant association between lipophilic statins, such as simvastatin, atorvastatin, lovastatin, fluvastatin, pitavastatin, and improved overall survival.
Dr. Nead explained, “We know that statins decrease breast cancer cell division and increase cell death. Our study shows that there is an association between statins and improved outcomes in TNBC, and it is time to pursue this idea further in a prospective trial.”
The researchers said they need to conduct more prospective trials to validate these findings and to better understand the role of statins in TNBC treatment. The article was published in Science Daily.